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‘Virtual strip search’ sparks privacy fears

CNN [1]
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

STRASBOURG, France (AP) — EU lawmakers have joined U.S. civil liberty campaigners in criticizing a new scanner that allows airport security to see through passengers’ clothes, calling it a virtual strip search that should only be used as a last resort.

The new system, which the European Union plans to authorize at the bloc’s airports, allows guards to see an outline of passengers’ bodies beneath their clothes, making it easier to detect any concealed objects.

It already is being introduced in several U.S. airports and has been tested in other countries around the world, including EU nations such as Britain and the Netherlands.


However, EU officials said it could face a ban if the 27-nation bloc does not include it in a new regulation listing acceptable airport security equipment.

“Many travelers will consider these scanners an enormous intrusion” on their personal privacy, Philip Bradbourn, a British Conservative member of the EU assembly, said Tuesday.